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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Standards of Library Service...

Education Law §254. Standards of library service
The regents shall have power to fix standards of library service for every free association, public and hospital library or, with the advice of the appropriate tribal government and library board of trustees, Indian library which receives any portion of the moneys appropriated by the state to aid such libraries, or which is supported in whole or in part by tax levied by any municipality or district. In the case of a hospital library or a library serving a hospital, such standards shall be established in consultation with the commissioner of health. If any such library shall fail to comply with the regents requirements, such library shall not receive any portion of the moneys appropriated by the state for free, hospital or Indian libraries nor shall any tax be levied by any municipality or district for the support in whole or in part of such library.
What are the Standards of Library Service and how does a library meet those standards?

Standard #1 - Written By-laws
Indeed the library does have written by-laws; however, Ms. DuRoss and others on this library board are choosing to ignore them as far as appointment of library trustees.

It is puzzling why they are being so confrontational; their bylaws seem to be very clear..."The trustees shall be appointed by the New Hartford Town Board." The same message is contained within their charter and on their website. It is becoming more and more apparent that there are things that they don't want the general public to know.

Standard #2 - Every library needs a long-range plan as a formal document.
Concerned Citizens FOILed several documents from the New Hartford Public Library. After a few go-a-rounds with Library Director Hans Plambeck, we were finally provided some of the information we requested.

One of the items we received was the New Hartford Public Library's Service Plan [long-range plan] adopted 11-18-2008. It is all of half a page. This document definitely needs work to fulfill the requirement for Standard #2.

For comparison, take a look at the long-range plans of Jervis Public Library in Rome.
Standard #3 - Report to the Community
They answered our FOIL request by providing:
- a copy of their Summer 2009 and Winter 2009 NHPL News with 2008 data;
- a copy of a document called Program Services dated 11-18-2008
- a report called Present Situation dated 11-12-08
- Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2008
- 2009 Annual Report for Public and Association Libraries.

It was made known at the June 17, 2010 Board of Trustee meeting that the Library has received a letter from the NYS Comptroller regarding the Comptroller's Report that is to be filed each year in accordance with Town Law; the report has never been filed. While the Comptroller's letter was mentioned at the June 17th trustee meeting, no copy was provided.
STANDARD #4: Written Policies
In answer to our FOIL, we were provided with a Meeting Rooms Use Policy dated June 18, 2008 and an Internet policy dated January 21, 1998.

There are many more policies listed on the above "Written Policies" link that were not provided. It would appear that work needs to be done in this area. We were definitely taken back at the June 17th meeting when it was learned that there is apparently no policy for donations of restricted funds and no signed agreements for restricted funds.
Standard #5 - Budget
We were provided with a letter sent to Earle Reed dated September 16, 2009 detailing the Library's 2010 budget request.
Standard #6 - Evaluating Effectiveness
To meet this standard, a library should be able to demonstrate that it queried its community, developed service objectives based on community need and evaluated the results of those objectives.
Standard #7 - Hours
According to Library Standards for our size town, the minimum hours NHPL is required to be open is 40 hours per week. New Hartford Public Library exceeds the required minimum hours.
Standard #8 - Maintaining a Facility to Meet Community Needs

Standard #9 - Equipment

Standard #10 - Printed Information
We were provided with a pamphlet dated 12-17-2009 that gives many details regarding the library including, and we quote:
"The Library is governed by an eleven member Board of Trustees made up of citizens appointed to five year terms by the Town of New Hartford. A list of trustees is available at the Circulation Desk."
Standard #11 - A paid Director

We have FOILed several other documents, but it would appear that not only does the Library not abide by the Open Meetings Law, they also don't like to respond to the Freedom of Information Law. The Library Director, Hans Plambeck, told Mr. Wiatr that he deletes any email messages that are not in reply to a message he sent. Nice way to run a library, eh?

To be continued...


Library Visitor said...

Who does Mary DuRoss think she is? This person does not deserve to hold the Library Board position of Chairperson.

Where is the Board of Regents? This group should Order the existing member (except for Wiatr) to cease and desist from further library board actions or face legal actions and liability for their illegal actions.

swimmy said...

I'm telling you, for someone who can be prosecuted criminally, ms. duross is very crass and should be praying the only legal board member doesn't refer her illegal activities to the DA!